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Gordo Taq. Inner SunsetOMR: 8.60
1233 9th Ave.
cross street: Lincoln/Irving
ph. 415/566-6011
Map Visits: 14
Long-popular neighborhood slabspot Gordo — champion of our 2006 Scrum — is beloved by many not only for its stellar burritowork, simple menu, and reasonable prices, but also its bulletin board that proudly features advertisements for academic lectures, meditation gurus, and even the occasional dog therapist. Consistency is thy name, mustaches are thy game. Why not request a grilled tortilla? Bottled beer available...but only on Sunday — no joke. Take that, Bible Belt. Credit cards accepted.

Will My Health Be Violated?

10/13/13Super Chile Verde Pork$6.858.50 Mustaches
Swish: cheese (10); beans (9); spiciness (9); temperature (9); size (8); tortilla (8); meat (8); rice (8); vegetables (8); sauciness (8); burstage abatement (8)
Shrug: ingredient mix (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Coming in at a slightly below-average level for this steady-truckin' Inner Sunset burritoteria, this floppy-yet-formidable slab still held our panel's attention in all the right ways. The ingredient mix should have been better realized, and the gaping wound down at the hind end sent this overstuffed burrito's burstage abatement rating down a couple mustaches, but really, nothing else here merited any serious finger-shaking in the kitchen's direction. Cheese was perpetually melted and on hand for most every bite, and the guacamole packed such a flavorful punch that it almost deserved its own category on our salsa-splattered scoresheet. Chunks of pork were...chunky and porky, which is to say they fit the bill real nicely, if only adequately; the quick-grilled tortilla plied the same unspectacular, yet effective side of the street. And this being Gordo, intangibility was predictably two-mustache-worthy. Thanks for all the years of slabular indulgence, Fat Taqueria.

10/12/12Super Carnitas$6.008.67 Mustaches
Swish: beans (10); temperature (10); cheese (9); vegetables (9); spiciness (9); ingredient mix (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); tortilla (8); meat (8)
Shrug: rice (7); sauciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Taking into account the usual high-flying characteristics of a Gordo slab — your short, chubby dimensions here; your solid construction and endless run of hot bites here; melto-cheese, rich guacamole, and flavorful pico de gallo there; a lightly grilled tortilla (on request) everywhere; and why not some unspectacular Mexican rice as well? — let's instead throw the spotlight on a few lesser-recognized elements of the Gordo kitchen's generally consistent work. Our buxom dunch featured an exceptional ingredient mix, the sort of joyous, all-in jumble we wish we saw more of around town. Scrappily delicious, if throughly uncrispy carnitas satisfied our panel's desire for tasty fried pork, while ace intangibility was never in doubt. And holy mother of pearl, were those refried beans perfectly pasty, oh yes. This otherwise wonderful burrito's Achilles heel then? Mister Slabmaker Fella doused our slab in fiery salsa verde on the make, but where in the hell did it go? How could everything else on hand have possibly sucked this burrito sorta dry? We don't get it. Otherwise, hey, killer burrito.

07/07/11Super Chile Verde Pork$6.359.17 Mustaches
Swish: meat (10); sauciness (10); spiciness (10); temperature (10); rice (9); beans (9); cheese (9); ingredient mix (9); burstage abatement (9); tortilla (8); vegetables (8)
Shrug: size (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Another Gordo burrito that didn’t look like much of a troublemaker from the get-go; another Gordo burrito that knew what it was doing all along, to the tune of the highest rating ever earned by this shop. Other than its undersized dimensions and slight floppiness, our ever-critical panel found nary a weakness here, and the flurry of nines and tens you see listed above offers all the proof you need. The lightly grilled tortilla caused no pain, while the exceptional rice and (refried) beans foundation held steady all slab long. Fully melted cheese contributed early, often, and late, while the subtly booming spice couldn’t have been a better foil for the none-finer-anywhere pork, tender enough to bring a tear to even the hardiest eater of burritos. Three cheers (and ten and nine mustaches, respectively) for the note-perfect chile verde sauciness and positively balletic ingredient mix, although this legendary burrito’s soaring — soaring! — intangibility is what we’ll probably always remember about it.

Panel member 1: Remember that Gordo burrito, summer ’11?
Panel member 2: 9th Avenue shop? Sure. 9.17 hairy ones and soaring intangibility, right?
Panel member 1: Yeah. Totally soaring.
Panel member 2: Onions!

12/20/09Super Beef$5.708.83 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); temperature (10); burstage abatement (10); beans (9); sauciness (9); ingredient mix (9); size (8); meat (8); rice (8); cheese (8); vegetables (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Its slightly sticky, too-briefly grilled tortilla notwithstanding, here was another Gordo slab that knew exactly what it was talking about when it stepped up to the mustache-mic. So many fundamental elements never took a bite off here, from the three-alarm spice of the salsa verde to the ever-steamy temperature, that it was almost tempting to overlook just how good this short but girth-endowed meal tasted. Almost. The pico de gallo was on-point, as was the sharp guacamole and refried beans. Even the Spanish rice was all plumply grained, just as we like it. The beef may have been merely fine and all, but we’re not complaining, not with an ingredient mix this fantastic. The twin slices of Jack cheese were fully melted on one side of the tortilla interior, and that was OK with our panel. So was the two-mustache intangibility. So was the skimpy foil coverage, even. After all, airtight construction needs little protection from the outside elements.

11/23/08Super Chicken$5.608.00 Mustaches
Swish: beans (9); vegetables (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); tortilla (8); rice (8); cheese (8); sauciness (8); ingredient mix (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: meat (6); spiciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

For a glimpse into an off-afternoon at one of San Francisco’s most storied slabkitchens, look no further than this burrito’s single-mustache intangibility rating; also note the complete absence of tenners on hand. Add to these championship-averse moments a pile of loveless chicken and a lack of door-kicking spice, and we were left with a solid, but hardly legendary meal-in-foil. Burly sizing and a lightly grilled tortilla made welcome introductions, but there was no getting around the shockingly flavor-deficient boiled poultry. Twin slices of melted jack made for some nicely gooey moments along the tortilla’s interior, and Gordo’s refried beans were as impressively pasty/tasty as ever; as with the beans, the onion-rich veggie posse lived up to the nine-mustache hype. We could have done without the bunchy cilantro and construction awkwardness down low, as well as the occasional minor side-to-side temperature dips. Fine enough overall, but hardly the crown jewel in this former Scrum champ’s oeuvre.

11/10/08Super Carnitas$6.158.50 Mustaches
Swish: tortilla (9); meat (9); rice (9); beans (9); cheese (9); vegetables (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); spiciness (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: ingredient mix (7); sauciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

A cavalcade of sky-high element ratings more than offset a suspect level of sauciness and a sometimes-bunchy ingredient mix here, and the end result was a chronically delicious burrito that had us seeing mustaches, mustaches, mustaches. Kudos not only to the refried beans for managing to taste a hell of a lot better than they looked in the steam table tray, but also to the wondrously clump-free Spanish rice. Girthsome proportions saw to it that Mr. Slabmaker Fella would endure a mild struggle just to shut the big thing tightly; the jury remains out as to whether this had anything to do with the terrific carnitas being so clustered down in the lower half. Spice maintained a furious pace all slab long, with a generous set of jalapeño slices upping the fire-ante. We requested and got our grilled tortilla, atop which a pair of sizable jack slices were fully melted. And the guac was thick, and the intangibility was typically ace, and the burrito was mighty fine.

12/05/07Super Chile Verde Pork$5.309.08 Mustaches
Swish: beans (10); sauciness (10); spiciness (10); tortilla (9); rice (9); cheese (9); vegetables (9); ingredient mix (9); temperature (9); size (8); meat (8)
Shrug: burstage abatement (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Gordo Taq.’s encore to last year’s stunning Slab Scrum championship? Its first-ever nine-mustache waylayer. What’s next? The Gordo Blimp over the Rose Bowl? Incredibly, this burrito’s OMR could have gone even more Himalayan had Gordo’s Achilles heel – distractingly squishy construction – not acted up again. No need to fret, however, as plenty of other elements picked up the floppy slack. The refried revolution continued apace here after years of neglect, and there’s no tastier bean-slop in town at this point, friends. Not only was the salsa verde delicious and benevolently applied, but it brought a whole rainless autumn’s worth of fiery, spicy drama along with it. And while the pork maintained a decidedly non-dominant presence throughout, its chile verde smoky marinade was truly something else. We could devote equally effusive sentences to the grilled (on request) tortilla, highly prevalent slices of jack cheese, appreciative guacamole, enlarged grains of Spanish rice, or agile mix that mingled ingredients smartly without turning them into a Gerber-style puree, but then we'd shatter our self-imposed word count limit, and you'd just flip back over to Oprah. So: Girthsome size, hot bites, infinite intangibility, and a display in the Burritoeater Nine-Mustache Hall of Fame. Game over. Call in the blimp.

11/13/06Super Grilled Chicken$5.108.75 Mustaches
Swish: cheese (10); spiciness (10); temperature (10); size (9); tortilla (9); rice (9); meat (8); beans (8); vegetables (8); ingredient mix (8); burstage abatement (8)
Shrug: sauciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Other than the lower than desirable sauciness reading it registered on our mustache meter, Gordo’s final 2006 Slab Scrum entry was every bit the blimp its semifinal forerunner was four days prior. This hefty, three-bites-wide burrito knocked the roof off the House of Intangible Radness with minimal trouble – everything tasted real good here. It’s kooky how Gordo’s kitchen steams their tortillas by default, since they do such a terrific job grilling flour discs on command. Cheesework was positively Castillito-esque: melted all about the grilling tortilla, and gooey to the last bite. Salsa verde-driven spice? Pretty much infernal. We enjoyed Gordo’s super-charred chicken (particularly its blackened exterior), and the gentle rice stood nine mustaches tall yet again. Zero temperature concerns reared up, and if single-napkin comportment didn’t translate to a perfect burstage abatement rating (primary cause: final-bite crash), construction was perfectly respectable, as was the graceful ingredient mix. Nice refrieds, thick guac, good times at the taqueria.

11/09/06Super Beef$5.208.83 Mustaches
Swish: tortilla (9); meat (9); rice (9); beans (9); cheese (9); vegetables (9); spiciness (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); ingredient mix (8)
Shrug: sauciness (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Number nine, number nine, get the picture. Never mind the fact that no element of this burrito registered a ten-mustache rating – the unwavering consistency here was the star of the show. The fella back of Gordo’s counter may have shrugged his shoulders when we requested a grilled (rather than steamed) tortilla to start things off, but hey, we got a grilled tortilla out of the transaction, and that's never a dumb first step. Neither the sludgy refried beans nor the chopped steak boasted much visual potential when added to the mix, but each proved to wield a devastating flavor-hammer – particularly the juicy, smoky, borderline-charred steak. A couple splats of thick guacamole anchored an excellent veggie ensemble augmented by chopped (though ungrilled) onion, cilantro, and all the usual pico de gallo madness. Salsa-fired spice remained irrefutable throughout. A small handful of ingredients, wedged in the tortilla folds, rendered impossible a perfect burstage abatement rating, and one or two of the veggie-heavy bites weren’t quite up to the high heat the rest of the burrito gave off. But disarming overall taste squashed these minor concerns.

10/20/06Super Chicken$5.108.75 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); ingredient mix (10); temperature (10); rice (9); beans (9); cheese (9); vegetables (9); tortilla (8); meat (8); sauciness (8)
Shrug: size (7); burstage abatement (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Between its unerring ingredient mix, incendiary spice, and foundation-laying duo of tastily moist rice and top-grade refried beans, this girthsome Gordo slab had a hell of a lot going for it. Sole misgivings: If only it had been firmer, less stunted in length, and a little more sog-proof down at the hind end, nine mustaches would have been a distinct possibility way out west on 9th Ave. Our habit of requesting a grilled tortilla here is now fully in place, although the one on sheath duty on this evening managed to retain a surprising chewiness. Gordo never seems to skimp on the hell-bringing salsa whenever we walk through their door, and on a burrito-wide temperature level, there was nothing to grouse about here, either. The plentiful chicken was hand-pulled, liberally peppered, and really quite good, while the vegetable posse brought down the flavor hammer from all angles, from the rich, cilantro-spackled pico de gallo to the glurgy guac. Meanwhile, consistently melted slicks of jack cheese only furthered the cause, and if we had to re-visit this burrito’s rice with a few more adjectives, those adjectives would likely be “plump,” “gently oily,” and possibly even “full-on bitchin.” The crew behind the Gordo counter is way pro these days.

09/28/06Super al Pastor$5.008.42 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); burstage abatement (10); tortilla (9); meat (9); cheese (9); spiciness (9); rice (8); beans (8); sauciness (8)
Shrug: ingredient mix (7); size (6); vegetables (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

As with their burrito/taco/quesadilla/and-that’s-it menu, a Gordo slab is not a particularly complex thing. So this time, we asked for a little sprucing-up: Barbecued pork (not included on the overhead menu) as centerpiece; refrieds, rather than Gordo’s tried-and-occasionally-true whole pinto beans; and would you mind tossing the tortilla onto the grill instead of into the steamer? All those elements worked out quite nicely, along with a bevy of melted jack slices, downright ignitable salsa verde, a full slate of hot bites, and idiot-proof construction. A couple of reasonable complaints – mainly tied to the burrito’s underwhelming dimensions and its lack of vegetabular power – kept the OMR in the range of the highly respectable, but unfearsome. But to its eternal credit, our loosely foiled dinner improved with every bite, with the tangy-sauced al pastor earning special plaudits.

04/17/06Super Carnitas$4.908.92 Mustaches
This onetime Burritoeater scapegoat is suddenly on a tear. Our first foray into the Gordo carnitas tray couldn’t have come up any rosier, as the remarkably delicious fried pork managed to ratchet up an uncommon (for a meat) ten-mustache rating. Imagine if they bothered to grill their tortillas rather than steam them – all that jack cheese would get just as gloriously melted as it does via the steamer, yet we wouldn’t have to contend with the occasional stickiness to which steamed tortillas are prone. We’ve been (figuratively) applauding the arrival of refried beans in the Gordo kitchen since last fall, and furthermore, this burrito’s ideal amount of light brown rice scratched our taste buds in all the right spots. More good news: they dolloped on the scorching salsa verde, and aside from one un-hot bite, no temperature issues arose. The graceful mix ensured equal ingredient representation in most every bite, while single-napkin comportment pointed straight at yeoman burrito-masonry. And the bodacious guacamole – liberally pelted by bits of tomato – added chunkiness, power, and mystery to this hammer of the gods. What a fine foiled food it all was.
11/08/05Super Grilled Chicken$4.908.75 Mustaches
This burrito performed at such a spectacularly high level from first bite to last, we kept peering around to make sure we were actually sitting at a table inside Gordo. They not only nailed the seemingly easiest elements (hefty sizing, impenetrable construction, and the long-awaited arrival of refried pintos among their squadron of bean options), but also gracefully danced their way through the tricky minefields of consistently warm bites, seamless ingredient integration, and delicious meat by way of delectably grilled chicken charred to near-perfection. Spiciness reached manageably infernal heights with the infusion of both salsa verde and pepper-flecked salsa roja, while the foundation provided by the big-grain, light brown rice and (most welcome) refried beans was impossibly solid. Just as the terrific pico de gallo and chopped onion fit in perfectly, Gordo’s thick ‘n’ rich guac seemed to rear up at all the right times. And they’ve always been gold medalists of the cheese-melting olympics here. Yes, they ought to grill their tortillas. Yes, each Gordo burrito’s initial floppiness is a bit off-putting. These are relatively minor skirmishes, however, in light of this unexpected ascendancy to brilliance.
01/02/04Super Beef$5.606.69 Mustaches
If these people could get with the program and produce a burrito that doesn't threaten to fall apart every time, the world would be a more sensible place. Tellingly, this admittedly savory burrito exhibited a peculiar penchant for oversized pinto beans and pork-ish steak. The short length was forgivable, and it should be noted that several elements – stellar guacamole, supremely melted cheese, kickin’ salsa – nailed it. But damn those damn watery pinto beans!